Put Lisbon on Your Travel Short List

I’m kicking back in Lisbon at the moment, and I want to share some of my impressions with you.

This is a very laid back city with a great multicultural feel.

I love the strong links to the history of exploration (I’ll have more to say about that in my next blog…).

And, although it’s past its prime on the world stage, Lisbon has a vibrant energy that’s lacking in other European capitals.

You can find great art collections here too. I wandered around the Gulbenkian Museum on my first day in town, and I was surprised to discover a new interest in antique furniture and jewellery.

It houses a rather eclectic collection — from Roman sculpture and coins to European masters like Manet and Rubens, to some incredible Louis XV and Louis XVI furniture — amassed by the Armenian Turkish oil magnate Calouste Gulkbenkian and left to his foundation to exhibit in one place. And it’s a pleasure to explore, and to see these wide ranging areas of art side by side.

The highlights for me were the incredible Roman jewellery, the antique furniture (I got an education in that area on this trip!), and the stunning Art Nouveau jewellery of René Lalique.

I’ve also been touring old palaces and manor houses. That’s long been an interest of mine. I love wandering the vast empty rooms, and imaging myself living there alone among my books, or exploring these mysterious corridors as a character from some children’s novel by Enid Blyton.

Here are a few photos from the Casa-Museu Medeiros e Alameida, former home of the art collector and industrialist Antonio Medeiros e Almeida (1895-1986). It gives you a wonderful sense of how the wealthy and successful lived in this section of Lisbon in the nineteenth century:

I love touring these old houses. Dinner is served...

I love touring these old houses. Dinner is served…

My favourite room — I need a proper library one day, with wood panelled walls and ceiling, and a nice sturdy antique desk...

My favourite room — I need a proper library one day, with wood panelled walls and ceiling, and a nice sturdy antique desk…

I love the 18th-century panels of traditional azulejos tiles in the Sala de Lago...

I love the 18th-century panels of traditional azulejos tiles in the Sala de Lago…

...vast panels depict allegories of the 4 continents (known at that time - Europe, Africa, Asia and Americas), and the seasons.

…vast panels depict allegories of the 4 continents (known at that time – Europe, Africa, Asia and Americas), and the seasons.

Lisbon is home to many immigrants from Portugal’s former colonies too — places like Brazil, the Cape Verde islands, Macao, and Mozambique — and it’s possible to find some incredible ethnic food here.

I had an amazing dinner at a back alley place last night that served cuisine from Goa (in India). Prawn and okra curry, followed by a wonderful spicy lamb dish:

Lisbon has excellent ethnic food from Portugal's former colonies.

Lisbon has excellent ethnic food from Portugal’s former colonies.

This is a working trip, of course, and so I’m following the usual schedule of my Road Wisdom Lifestyle…

I rented a little apartment with fast wifi right off the Rossio square. And I spend the morning doing stuff for my online business. The afternoons exploring. And the evenings hard at work on my latest book.

Here’s the view from my window when I’m writing:

My apartment has a nice Baixa view...

My apartment has a nice Baixa view…

The plaza below my apartment is a popular gathering place for African immigrants...

The plaza below my apartment is a popular gathering place for African immigrants…

...it's always filled with the sound of conversation and cheerful laughter.

…it’s always filled with the sound of conversation and cheerful laughter.

And here are a couple pics of my favourite neighbourhood cafe — the Confeitaria Nacional — serving wonderful pastries since 1829, right around the corner.

My favourite cafe in the neighbourhood, the Confeitaria Nacional...

My favourite cafe in the neighbourhood, the Confeitaria Nacional…

...with a lovely array of sweets...

…with a lovely array of sweets…

I’ll have more to share with you in the coming days.

But I do have one immediate word of advice: if Portugal isn’t on your short list of places to travel, you need to add it. Right away.

Stay tuned to my blog and you’ll learn more about why…

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Hi Ryan,

    Very timely post. We’re heading to Lisbon next month along with Porto and a trip to Andalusia. Super pumped for this one!

    • Ryan Murdock says

      Sounds great! I still haven’t been to Porto, but Lisbon is one of my favourite cities in Europe.

      • Hi Ryan,

        Made it to Lisbon a few weeks ago and you were right, it was great. Porto was also great. In some ways it made more of an impression than Lisbon. This was unexpected. Always something unexpected, something interesting around every corner.

        • Ryan Murdock says

          Great to hear. I still haven’t been to Porto, it’s been on my list for ages. Portugal is such a great place to travel: wonderful food and wine, beaches, culture, people. A definite highlight in Europe.

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